The Power of Imagined Worlds:

An interview with Austin Walker

Austin Walker is everywhere these days. As a game scholar, an independent critic, an occasional game designer, a Twitch streamer, news editor at Giant Bomb, and soon as editor-in-chief of Vice’s recently-announced gaming portal, Austin has been a paragon of thoughtful, incisive commentary and discussion in gaming culture. He also makes a podcast about tabletop roleplaying games called Friends at the Table. Continue Reading

Infinite Typewriters

Canon, Criticism, and Bioshock

“Prestige games” are a special class of AAA blockbuster, fully integrated into the commercial game industry and developed with huge production and marketing budgets, but understood to transcend mere entertainment. Although these games are expected to do business like other AAA titles, they are additionally ascribed a comparatively high degree of cultural prestige and aesthetic value, thus performing a legitimating function for the industry and mainstream gaming culture. BioShock (2007) is the archetypal prestige game, widely praised for its weaving together of dynamic first-person shooter gameplay distilled from its predecessor System Shock 2 (1999), a stylish Art Deco-inspired underwater setting, and “mature” commentary on Ayn Randian libertarianism, agency, and the forms and conventions of digital gaming (Sicart, 152). Continue Reading